||[Nov. 24th, 2004|12:49 pm]
One of the stimulating things about LJ is that you never know when the Messerschmidts are going to come diving at you out of the sun. |
Mainly you're among friends, but it's a public arena and anything is possible.
I like it that it's public. Yeah, I do really.
I think Tarantino is motivated by the success of depicting women doing heroics, that people regardless of gender identify easily with The Bride, for example, is a demonstration of precisely how far we've come in terms of how we are willing to see women portrayed. It is worth noting that until recently, nearly the only woman not portrayed in some stereotypical role was Joan of Arc and in many ways she is the literary archetype of the "strong woman." Whether or not Tarantino is serving the goals of a hypothetical feminist movement is ancillary, he has created a rather unique heroine from all I've seen....
There is a sentence that I'm trying to write over and over again, in order to maintain an intellectual air. I think this, which I've heard from a lot of boys whose parents actaully let them see the movie:
"I wish I could kick butt like Uma." And so on to that effect. She's not seen as a model for women, for strong women, or any of that. She is now a model of non-gender, universally acceptable, vicious-yet-merciful, heroic-yet-flawed strength. Period. That she is in fact a "she" almost never plays into it.
Two other women I can think of in this vein are Sigourney Weave in the Alien movies, and Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.
Is it only science fiction where we see this?!
Detective fiction has some cool classy female characters and, yes, some of them are created by women. I'm thinking particularly of VI Warshawsky- the Chicago p.i. created by Sara Paretsky, and Inspector Jane Tennison (Prime Suspect) the TV policman created by Lynda La Plante and played by Helen Mirren. There are others.
These characters escape from their frames. They become available to everybody. Peter Pan, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Superman, and now- the Bride. It hardly matters who authored them. They exist. They speak to our needs. Arguing against them is like arguing against the human race.
In the past almost all these archetypal figures were male. It's a sign of the times, and a hopeful sign, that some of the ones who are coming through now are female.
I videotaped "The West Wing" a couple of weeks ago, and I'm just now getting caught up. At one point, CJ Craig, the 6 ft tall press secretary gets promoted to chief of staff. One of the younger guys congratulates her "on behalf of men who have WonderWoman fantasies". I thought it was funny, and it reminded me of your comment.
Ah yes, Wonderwoman. She was always a little too cute to be quite convincing.
None of those facts need to play into people's overall perception. I'm reminded of other instances, such as Charlemagne and Baligant from the the Song of Roland, who are precisely the same except that Charlemagne gets help from Gabriel at the end of the battle. That fact never seems to play in either. So while the facts of what is going on may be undeniable, that does not mean they are actually recognized or truly assimilated. Let's not forget that the overwhelming majority of the audience probably remembers more about the fight choreography than the plot line.